Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, a candidate for the Republican nomination, is not doing very well in the polls. However, he does get support from "serious" circles. In a recent speech, he had the following to say in support of free trade and trade agreements:
“As a former diplomat, trade official, Governor and business executive, I’ve witnessed firsthand the tremendous economic opportunities of free and fair trade. As President, I will work tirelessly to open more global markets for American businesses.”
-Gov. Huntsman, 8/31/11
Free trade supports nearly 18 million American jobs, and establishing new lines of trade with international partners represents an enormous well of untapped economic and political goodwill.
95 percent of the world’s customers live outside our borders, and with the United States party to only 17 of the more than 300 trade agreements worldwide, opening markets and expanding a customer base for American businesses is a commonsense tool to spark growth.
America’s strength lies in our creative class, our entrepreneurial spirit, and in governance wise enough to allow our great companies to compete in the international marketplace. The countries that lead in defining the new trading system will be the countries that benefit the most. If we don’t assume the mantle of leadership, our economy will be relegated to competing in a marketplace defined by our competitors.
We won't remain the most productive economy in the world if we embrace the mistaken belief that we can prosper by selling and buying only among ourselves, while other countries seize the extraordinary opportunities for economic growth that the global economy offers.
A PROVEN RECORD
Gov. Huntsman has decades of experience, witnessing firsthand the benefits of trade to American businesses and consumers.
• Gov. Huntsman served as Deputy U.S. Trade Representative for President George W. Bush, and helped negotiate free trade agreements in Asia and Africa.
• As Ambassador to Singapore and Ambassador to China, Gov. Huntsman helped expand markets for American exports.
• In Utah, Gov. Huntsman aggressively pursued trade, led trade missions overseas, and helped double Utah’s exports.
• Approve Pending Trade Deals With South Korea, Colombia and Panama
For more than 2.5 years, President Obama has failed to act on three trade agreements that would boost the nation’s exports by more than $10 billion and create tens of thousands of American jobs.
• Pursue New Trade Opportunities, Particularly Across the Pacific
It is in the strategic interest of the United States to reach trade agreements with the world’s largest economies that share our values.
Thus, the United States should take the lead in initiating free trade agreements with Japan, India and Taiwan, among others. We must begin to send a message to the world that we will once again lead on trade liberalization.
• Support the Doha Development Round of World Trade Organization Negotiations
Although discussions have stalled, the United States should urge completion of the multi-lateral negotiations aimed at promoting free trade between nations of varying prosperity, which will benefit both developed and developing nations.
• Lead in Reaching a Successful Conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
Gov. Huntsman’s Administration will make completion of the TPP a priority. This framework would open the markets of Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam to U.S. goods.
Here's more from Huntsman in a blog post entitled "Take it From Me: Obama's Failed on trade":
Over the past few weeks, I've noted with interest that once again the President has been advocating free trade agreements as a key pillar of his absent job creation "plan." But this is another example where the President’s record fails to match his rhetoric. In fact, after 2.5 years in office the President still hasn't even submitted the free trade agreements to Congress.
From the day of his inauguration, President Obama has unnecessarily delayed America's recovery by stifling critical negotiated trade deals with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, which his own Administration acknowledges would boost the nation's exports by more than $10 billion and create tens of thousands of American jobs.
The President delivers fantastic speeches on free trade in the abstract, saying in last year's State of the Union address that "we will lose the chance to create jobs on our shores" if Washington fails to act. But the fierce urgency of the President's free trade pitch must have been lost, because for the last 2.5 years he has refused to submit the deals for legislative approval unless the measures were coupled with expanded funding for a union-backed entitlement program.
This is unacceptable.
As a twice-former diplomat, U.S. trade official and business executive, I've witnessed firsthand the tremendous economic opportunities of free trade. To say nothing of the nearly 18 million American jobs existing agreements already support, establishing new lines of trade with prospective international partners represents an enormous well of untapped political and economic goodwill.
Ninety-five percent of the world’s customers live outside our borders, and with the United States party to only17 of the more than 300 trade agreements worldwide, opening markets and expanding a customer base for American business should be a commonsense tool to spark immediate growth.
Other nations continue to reap the benefits of America’s failure to act. The European Union last month finalized a trade deal with South Korea, and have subsequently seen exports rocket 16 percent. Canada's trade deal with Colombia went into effect just last week. The result is jobs that should be coming to the U.S. going to Canada and Europe.
"Made in America" once meant something, but it now only serves as a reminder of the shuttered factories that litter our nation's landscape. The out-of-business and foreclosure signs that stretch from California to Florida are monuments to President Obama's failed leadership.
America needs an experienced leader with serious solutions; a leader who offers more results above rhetoric. One who has the will to put typical Washington politics aside and find long-term solutions that will turn our economy around.
I'm ready to do that. And you better believe it wouldn't take a President Huntsman 2.5 years to pass a free trade agreement.
My sense is that this will help him with those who already support him, but may not do much to convince his (many) skeptics.